MoP press info: Things to do outside of raids

So, with raiding not changing all that much, I thought I would spend a brief post talking about things we’ll be able to do outside of raids in Mists of Pandaria. Right now, when I’m not raiding, I tend to log in the game and just fly around stormwind. What excites me the most about Mists of Pandaria is an emphasis on trying to give us stuff to do outside of the normal raids & PvP. In addition, these activities are pretty much all perfect for people with crazy busy schedules that just want something short they can do.

Pet Battles

While some people dislike the idea of this feature, it will make a great time-filler.  Here are some of the features that will fill your time:

  • You get to give each pet an individual name. If you have 150 pets, then you can name each of those 150 pets.
  • They are adding in new pets for all the pet collectors to go farm. Now that you have a real incentive to want to find the best pet, you will have a real reason to go farm for pets.
  • You will be able to sell most of the pets on the AH for more money, even after you’ve leveled it. The value of the non-combat pets will increase with the level of that pet. According to the Blizzcon preview, you can level up the pet in the pet battles and then set it out into the world, and make money off your already leveled pet. Then, you can get a new one and start over. For people that don’t form attachments to the particular pets, this is a nice feature. On the other hand, I’ll probably just lose tons of gold on buying pets, lol.
  • When you join a random pet battle game, you won’t know who you are playing against, so the random troll #158 can’t come over to your server and harass you. So, you don’t have to deal with a social situation like most PUG PvE. You’ll just throw your pets in the arena and beat the snot out of someone else’s pets. The system also won’t track losses so you only have to worry about winning.
  • You can still play with your friends. You should be able to challenge your friends to a pet battle.
  • You can spend all day working out what your 3’s pet team will be (ie. 3 cats, 3 different druid shapeshift model pets, 3 murlocs, something totally random, etc).

Grow Plants in your Farm

If you don’t like pet battles, you can focus on your new… farm! Haven’t heard much about this feature? Well, I haven’t either. According to WoWinsider:

  • Your farm is “mini-phased”, so that you always have access to it (ie. you don’t have to wait for player B to finish with his).
  • As you grow your farm, you can make cooking ingredients, consumable food, and more! If you are an herbalist, you can farm herb nodes in your farm instead of having to fly around the world. There are other features that we should learn about soon.

Challenge Modes

For people who want something a little more hard-core than pet battles and farming at your farm, they put in challenge mode dungeons.

  • This equalizes all your gear so you can’t out-gear the challenges. If you beat the challenge, it’s because you had the skill, and not just the gear.
  • Earn gold, silver,  or bronze medals based on your speed of completing the challenge. The faster the better!
  • Earn cosmetic features for your success. The prizes here will allow you to show off your excellence by giving you cosmetic rewards to proudly display.
  • This is going to work best for a group of friends or guild members who usually run things together and can work well as a team.

Scenarios

Don’t have an organized group of friends to tackle challenge modes with? Well, you can run these scenarios instead. I’m pretty sure I will accidentally call this feature “skirmishes” a lot, because the name and the concept of this feature is really similar to skirmishes from LOTRO.

  • These are basically 3-man dungeons that don’t require a tank or a healer (but you can still join them as a tank or a healer if you want to).
  • You just blitz your way through the scenario with hopefully not having to use too much coordination. They are designed to be short (like 10 to 20 minutes hopefully).
  • They will require less of a commitment and less coordination than the normal PUG 5-mans.
  • These will award valor points & gear rewards, and offer an alternative to mix up with your 5-man runs. However, it’s still likely that the joy in these will fade after they start to feel “old”, since most dungeon crawls usually stop being interesting when you no longer get interesting rewards from them.

Conclusions

This gives you a taste of what the range of new features will be. Each of them cater to a slightly different audience (ie. maybe you just do challenge modes and forget about pets. Maybe you spend your whole day battling pets and tending your farm). At the very least, everything listed above should hopefully have good re-playability across the expansion, at least I think that is Blizzard’s goal. In MoP, instead of finding me in Stormwind, I hope to be prancing around my farm in stag form. Then again, I also thought archeology would hold my attention for Cataclysm, and that definitely didn’t pan out. Once we’re in beta (soon), I will definitely be testing out these features and I’ll let you know what I find.